"Consumers didn’t get memo on better than expected retail sales by: John Sample

   We are literally half way through the summer and it is getting hot and muggy. We even experienced our first tropical storm/hurricane in the Gulf. 
   If that wasn’t enough, in the sporting arena Wimbledon ended in an epic battle, the MLB All Star game encompassed a captivating home run derby and we are now looking forward to football season after an unprecedented week of player movement in the NBA. 
   So much for the lazy hazy days of summer. 
   I would be remiss in all these distractions didn’t stop the equities market found the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index move above 3000. This supposedly was attributed to Chairman Powell’s testimony before Congress indicating an interest rate cut coming sooner than later. 
   Did I mention that the trade wars while impactful have yet to stop economic growth. 
   I suppose if you say it long enough, sooner or later you will be correct. 
   Speaking of economic activity, apparently the consumer didn’t get the memo. This week the report on retail sales came in significantly higher than expected. 
   So far the tariffs have not had that large an impact on price lev
els. We just experienced another Amazon Prime day that was successful even with strikes among Amazon workers.
   While the consumer doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo as to how bad their life has become, industrials are in fact feeling the pain. 
   The economy is a zero sum game and there are always consequences. I dare say that consumers will eventually experience higher prices. 
   The rubber will meet the road as to whether they will be willing to pay.
   While everyone waits breathlessly for a rate cut, the banks announced their earnings this week and all was better than expected. 
   This just shows you how quickly sectors can adapt as it is common wisdom that banks are to improve in rising interest rate markets. 
   Just another pillar of wisdom knocked down. 
   Most of the big banks are well valued but regional still provide some value. 
   One might take a look at Suntrust, BB&T, M&T and PNC. 
   These banks provide earnings and dividend growth. Not a bad combination in a low interest rate environment.
   Speaking of summer and all it brings. For me this week brings back memories of my first year in college completed and working the summer on a pipeline crew. 
   It also is significant as I clearly remember being with friends and watching the moon landing. 
   Truly remarkable on many levels. I was young having more fun that should be legal and witnessing history. 
   Maybe that is where my optimism was crystalized that anything is possible. I will continue to hold on to that as the alternative is just a waste of my time.

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